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How does property division work in Texas?

If you and your spouse have decided to divorce, it is a good idea to seek answers to your property questions before your case proceeds. Property division is one of the most complicated matters a divorcing couple will face, and if the breakup is contentious, a fair balance is even more elusive. The first thing you need to know is that property division falls under Texas community property law.

When a couple divorces in a community property state, it often means that each spouse gets half of the couple's marital assets and debts. However, in Texas, the split may not be precisely equal because family law courts aim for a fair and just distribution. Some of the factors judges consider in this goal include:

  • Differences in each spouse's capacity to earn
  • The custody of minor children
  • The health and condition of each spouse
  • Whether a spouse would suffer financial hardships after divorce
  • Anticipated inheritances for one or both spouses

Simply put, marital property is any property a couple acquired during the marriage. You should also understand that you may be allowed to keep any separate property you own as long as you can prove it is not part of your marital property. Examples of separate property include:

  • Separate bank accounts
  • Proceeds from personal injury cases
  • Gifts from your spouse
  • Separately held inheritances

In a marriage, what starts out as separate property (e.g. an inheritance from a relative) often becomes community property because most couples commingle their finances. Issues like this make property division particularly complex. You would benefit from working with a professional to help you sort your finances and obtain the proof needed to protect your separate property.

Source: FindLaw, "Community Property Overview," accessed March 14, 2018

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